A New York City councilman is opening up about the barrage of racist hate mail he received after going public with his private protest.
Jumaane Williams made a habit of not rising for the Pledge of Allegiance away from the public eye. Then, last week, Atlanta Black Star reported he took his demonstration to a City Council meeting Sept. 21.
Williams shared an image of himself bowing his head in prayer as his fellow council members rose around him. He took the position in support of Colin Kaepernick’s protest of police brutality against African-Americans.
Now, because of that move, he has received hate mail.
According to letters obtained by the New York Daily News, writers sent in vile, insulting words to the Democrat.
One note described Williams as a “f—— plantation monkey” before tearing into his ancestry.
“Plantation owner should have aborted your great-grandmother,” it continued. “You sit during the pledge – well hope you have an accident that causes such physical trauma you will not be able to stand or kneel.”
Another message absurdly described the joy Black parents would feel when police shoot and kill their sons.
“Black parents wait – some pray – that a son will get shot by a cop,” it said. “Of course he was on his way to college or usually church. This is called Payday for them. The ghetto lottery. What’s one kid when they usually have 6-8 maybe 10.”
The same letter also ranted about affirmative action and rap music.
But Williams expressed sorrow for those who don’t notice the flaws in sending such insults.
“I feel sorry for someone who can’t even see how illogical it is what they’re saying,” Williams told the newspaper. “They’re walking around with so much anger in their hearts. It’s a disappointing thing, but that’s what we’re dealing with.”
“It just underscores that we really haven’t gone as far as we think we have on these issues,” he said. “People try to pretend we’re past that in this country, and we’re not.”
In the wake of the news, New York City’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus released a statement in solidarity with Williams.
“The Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus is outraged at the hateful, racist responses to the silent, peaceful protest by Caucus Member Jumaane D. Williams,” it began. “And stands by Council Member Williams and any other Members of the New York City Council who choose to participate in national protests against violence.”
“We wholeheartedly rebuke any attempts to sidestep peaceful discourse and protest through the use of racist personal attacks,” the group concluded.